We digress from our usual happy themes for this issue that affects each and every one of us: the haze that is choking us again. The annual haze is entirely a man-made problem – and hence can be stopped.

This video filmed by Greenpeace’s drones shows the extent of the fires in Indonesia.

The annual blame game between governments and plantation companies seems to be just a way to kill time until the start of the monsoon rains. In the meanwhile, people of the region bear the consequences. We see the instant effect on our health despite our air-conditioned houses and access to health care. This video, again by Greenpeace, will give you an idea on how it affects people living down the road from the fires. Every year.

If you haven’t yet signed the petition of Stop the haze campaign, do so here. The Singapore-based “We breath what we buy” campaign and petition can be found here.

There is an ongoing debate on whether palm oil should be boycotted altogether, or should we rather demand that companies produce and use palm oil that is deforestation- and peat-free. The latter argue that the oil palm is one of the most efficient oil plants, and it would make sense to grow it responsibly. Whatever one decides is the way to go, it is worth stopping for a second and reflecting on consumption habits of us and our families in general.

STOP THE HAZE

If you are interested in finding out a bit more than what the superficial news coverage tells us about the issue, log on to Center for International Forestry Research’s website. This nonprofit organisation has been studying the the fires and haze in Indonesia for years. They say:

Fires begin and spread for many reasons, so it is misleading to think of “fires” as the problem — or even as a single problem. Complex socioeconomic, ecological and governance factors are involved, meaning that the problem — and the solutions — go beyond who actually lights the match.

And if you only have time for one article, perhaps it should be this: 5 things to know about the haze.



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